Christmas has started in earnest in our house. Nikolaus came this weekend and brought R the gymnastics hoody that she has been coveting for ages (improbably but wonderfully, R does actually take part in gymnastics – but that’s for another blog). So result for Nikolaus. Finding Christmas presents for R is extremely difficult, though. All the usual stuff that little girls like – gel pens, dolls, game consoles, are just not accessible for R.
Like lots of families, we have our traditions at this time of year. For us, the pre-Christmas ritual involves a visit to a branch of certain well-known toy store followed by a visit to that shop with the mouse and finally the German Christmas market for Bratwurst – the German market being conveniently located right outside the toy shop. For several years, this has been a fruitful exercise. R stood beside and stared very pointedly at the things she liked. We took photos and voila – we had her Santa list. Brilliant. Only that today when we went, there was really very little that took her fancy. This could be because she wasn’t feeling very well (which she wasn’t) but I think that it might also be because, although she looks about five, she is eight and a half and her interests are changing. Its easy to forget that R isn’t a little girl any more.
When R was first diagnosed, we took her to a specialist Rett clinic. The doctor there told us an anecdote that has stayed with me. A research study was being carried out on a number of girls of varying ages with Rett. The task was to unscramble a picture to reveal a clown. The researchers were baffled that while the youngest girls could do this easily, the older girls failed to do the task. Then one of the researchers had the bright idea to substitute the picture of a clown for a picture of Colin Firth…
Now I’m not suggesting that R is interested in Colin Firth but I do think that she might feel too grown up for the sorts of things that she saw in the toy shops today. She enjoys age appropriate stories so why not age appropriate toys? Which means its back to the drawing board with the Santa list.